poor Twenty-Sixer. Live on lack.
My father is clearing the first Party shrine:
it is the summer of Sixty-Six.
He hates physical work and everything
that keeps him from the protection racket
of crosswords and history books.
But the rest of the Committee
has been drunk since the Jubilee
and can’t break the spell of itself.
Weeds know nothing about the Party
or how it emerged, genie-like,
out of an abandoned shell case.
The weeds and their friends the shitting
pigeons want to bury this shrine
in a single summer.
I am holding the shovel for my father
while he reads inscriptions on brass:
sixteen golden names of the Party,
the twenty-six grammatical flaws.
Reproduced with kind permission of the author.
Thomas McCarthy is an award winning poet, novelist, and critic. Born in Cappoquin, Co Waterford, and educated at UCC, McCarthy has published seven collections of poetry including: The Sorrow Garden; The Lost Province; Mr Dineen’s Careful Parade; Merchant Prince and The Last Geraldine. He is also the author of two novels; Without Power and Asya and Christine. His most recent book, Poetry, Memory and the Party: Journals 1974-2014 was published by The Gallery Press in 2022.
McCarthy will be leading Poetry as Commemoration workshops in Cork City Library in Autumn 2022.